Coffee shops to overtake pubs by 2035

Coffee shops to overtake pubs by 2035

Coffee shops are replacing the pub as places to socialise, drink and eat, a new report has claimed.

The report from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) called Health on the High Street: Running on Empty said the high street has seen a sharp rise in coffee shops and cafés in recent years, which has helped to revitalise town centres, boost economic performance, support regeneration as well as social interaction.

It said that cafés and coffee shops play an increasingly important role as a ‘third place’, providing opportunities for people to meet and interact, as well as a sociable environment for accessing the internet to work, study or relax.

The report revealed that in the 1700s, there were 550 coffee houses in London – by the 1800s this had fallen to just 12 - as coffee houses converted to other outlets, most notably pubs.

The report said: “The last 20 years have seen a reverse of this shift – coffee shops and cafés have increased as pub numbers decline. It is estimated that the number of coffee shops will overtake pubs by 2035 and has been argued that cafés and coffee shops are increasingly fulfilling the same role that pubs have in the past as a place to socialise, eat and drink.”

It highlighted the views of Andy Harrison, former chief executive of Whitbread, the current owner of Costa, who argued that the coffee shop is a social venue that is “fulfilling a hole in British society that would previously have been met by pubs”.

He said that while pubs have historically been typically about men and evening trade, coffee shops are open all day and are far more family friendly, with over half of customers being women

This was reflected in the RSPH survey of 2,000 consumers that found that nearly three quarters of respondents (74%) believe that cafés encourage social interaction and over half (54%) that they have a positive impact on mental wellbeing.

However, the RSPH report also said that coffee shops have also faced criticism for sugar content in their drinks, with Starbucks’ venti Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon Hot Mulled Fruit, being found to have 25 teaspoons of sugar per serving and Costa’s massimo eat-in Chai Latte, 20 teaspoons of sugar.

It also said that it is clear that most, if not all, cafés and coffee shops could be doing more to support the health of their customers through the food and drink items on offer, including reducing sugar and calorie content.

The report covered cafés including branded coffee shops, independent coffee shops as well as other types of café on the high street that sell lunchtime foods, such as Pret a Manger, EAT, Subway and Greggs.


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